- Claire Mitchell
- 20 September 2007
Amber Roome, Edinburgh, until Thu 4 Oct
As verdigris slices through neon lime, which in turn is edged with bright jade, Richard Strachan’s pragmatically titled ‘Green/Yellow’, becomes a crystalline image that seems to take you deep into the architecture of the Emerald City. Strachan is interested in the way light and planes play off each other within interior spaces, and he in turn sets out to heighten the way we might look at our own built-up environment by alluding to it in lurid colour and sharp, strong geometrics. Strachan’s work is very metropolitan, not only because his paintings bring to mind fantastical Oz-like urban sprawl, but also through the glossy acrylic-on-aluminium surface of the paintings themselves.
While it’s likely that this incredibly slick finish has been one of the main reasons that Strachan is becoming an emerging star across the art circuit in London, it also gives a sense of mechanical production - that they were created by a room full of tireless automatons rather than a real live human being. And that coldness really jars against the emotive qualities of the vibrant colour that Strachan uses, which is a clever way of flipping and upsetting our usual understandings of our urban environment. However, whilst the hard edge of Strachan’s green, yellow and orange tinged paintings really do succeed in batting you between lustrous colour and the weight of architectural space, his purple and brown hued works detract from this, becoming comfy 1970s colour swatches that smack slightly of interior decoration rather than keen architectural interpretation.